Triscooters, jetpacks, levitating lifts, hanging chairs or moving sidewalks?

Which way will the city transport infrastructure develop?

It is estimated that the speed of traffic in London today is lower than that of the average cyclist. And Los Angeles drivers are forced to sit in traffic jams for 90 hours a year.

Increasingly, city officials are thinking about how to get rid of personal cars, which have become too numerous. In Moscow, the carriageway is narrowed, sidewalks are widened and bike paths are being built. Madrid, Paris and Brussels are organizing “fasting” days and blocking out entire areas from cars.

What are the plans to replace them with? Maybe we’ll travel by air with jetpacks on our backs? Or glide in special chairs along the cables stretched over the city? These ideas, which were just the forecasts of futurists, are already conquering the market.

Moving sidewalks

One of the solutions to the problem was proposed by Swiss scientists. According to researchers at the Ecole Polytechnique de lausanne (EPFL), moving walkways (or travelators) may come to replace cars in big cities.

The idea of ​​such tracks has appeared in various sci-fi stories: by Herbert George Wells, Robert Heinlein and Isaac Asimov. In 1893, such a design was first installed at the World’s Fair, held in Chicago, followed by her shown at the World’s Fair in Paris in 1900.

Travolators have long moved visitors to major airports, shopping malls and exhibition venues around the world.

Travolator tunnel in the St. Petersburg metro
Travolator tunnel in the St. Petersburg metro

However, EPFL engineers went further. They propose using moving walkways, which can reach speeds of up to 15 kilometers per hour, as a large-scale system for moving people within cities. It is assumed that mobile sidewalks will be combined into one network so that passengers can move from one travelator to another.

Moving sidewalks can save space by taking up less space than highways, according to EPFL. Their width is only 1.2 meters, while the road requires at least 2.5 meters.

Such a system will be able to move up to seven thousand passengers per hour to each moving track. For comparison – cars during this time transport from 750 to 1800 people on a regular road.

Levitating elevators

We are used to the fact that elevators only move up and down. Strictly vertical. But in the near future, they will be able to ride horizontally. Carrying passengers even between buildings – along the streets.

The specialists of the German concern ThyssenKrupp have already successfully tested such an elevator, called Multi. The Dutch firm OVG Real Estate is currently constructing the tallest building in Berlin, the East Side Tower, which will use the Multi elevator system for the first time. According to the plan, the 140-meter-high skyscraper should be commissioned in 2021.

Multi - the world's first lift system without cables and wires
Multi – the world’s first lift system without cables and wires

The Multi system does not use cables and does not require a machine room. The cab is driven by the force of the electromagnetic field. The rails are fixed on the shaft wall, but the elevator does not touch them: it levitates from them at a certain distance. The magnets, which are mounted on the rails and on the cab, simultaneously repel and attract each other. This principle is used in toys for children, as well as in Maglev trains, which can accelerate to the speed of an aircraft.

The cab is driven by a linear motor. One part of it is located on the cab, the other is the rails in the mine. It is like a deployed traditional electric motor: the winding of the magnetic system is open and creates a magnetic field – this is the stator. The other half of the mechanism provides linear movement of the moving part of the engine – this is the armature.

To change the direction of movement from vertical to horizontal, “arrows” are installed in the shaft: the mechanism turns the magnetic rails on them by 90 degrees.


The next-generation vehicle may look more like an electric tricycle than a regular vehicle.

Triscooters will save cities from traffic jams and exhaust fumes
Triscooters will save cities from traffic jams and exhaust fumes

The Triscooter is an electric vehicle that you can buy today. The maximum speed that he can develop is 50 km per hour – this is quite enough for a city. The triscooter is charged from a regular outlet in 6-8 hours. The power reserve is up to 45 km. A full battery charge provides up to 12 hours of use.

The development is ideal for an urban environment: due to its compact size (1x2x1.6 m), the triscooter easily avoids traffic jams and finds a parking space. At the same time, it accommodates up to 3 passengers. It is controlled quite easily: like a motorcycle.

You can go for an economical and eco-friendly city walk right now by hopping into one of these vehicles. Their production and sale was launched by an entrepreneur from St. Petersburg Dmitry Makeev. The niche of light electric transport in our country is not yet occupied, and Dmitry sees good opportunities in this. A triscooter is much cheaper than a car with a gasoline engine (from 249,000 rubles). And one kilometer of the way on it costs only 20 kopecks. (on a gasoline car – from 4 rubles).

Before our very eyes, the Triscooter project is transforming from a futuristic concept into a promising business. Major customers have already shown interest in it. Makeev’s company received several orders from online stores, cottage villages and food delivery chains. In the future, the entrepreneur plans to produce unmanned triscooters based on existing models.


The name “jet pack” (English jet pack) is firmly entrenched for aircraft, fixed on the pilot’s back, regardless of the type of engine. The idea of ​​creating such a backpack originated in 1919 from the Soviet inventor Alexander Andreev, and in 1928 he received a patent for this invention. However, this project did not progress further than the drawings, since no funds were allocated for the creation of the apparatus.

At the same time, jetpacks appeared on the pages of American sci-fi comics. On the cover of one of the issues of “Amazing Stories” in 1928, a man was depicted flying with the help of a special knapsack behind his back.

On April 20, 1961, the jetpack ceased to be a fantasy. On this day, the first ever free flight in a jetpack took place. Pilot Harold Graham climbed to a height of about 1.2 meters and began to move smoothly forward at a speed of about 10 km / h. He moved in a straight line at a distance of 35 meters and landed. The flight lasted only 13 seconds.

Jetpack Martin Aircraft
Jetpack Martin Aircraft

Today, the cost of a jetpack is about $ 300,000. The high price and short flight time (up to 10 minutes) make it impractical for the time being to use these devices as personal transport. However, they are already used by firefighters and rescuers: in 2015, the Dubai authorities purchased 20 jetpacks manufactured by the New Zealand company Martin Aircraft. They were supposed to be used to fight fires on the upper floors of skyscrapers.

An increase in the time the aircraft remains in the air from the moment of takeoff to the moment of landing and large-scale production, which will reduce the cost several times, can make jet backpacks a mass phenomenon.

Jetpacks have good prospects for becoming, if not personal, then commercial transport – for example, express delivery vehicles. They do not require a pilot’s license to operate them, and any 1 square meter area is suitable for takeoff.

Hanging chairs

Bulgarian architect Martin Angelov proposed the concept of forming the structure of urban transport, which implies movement within the city using suspended chairs moving along steel cables.

This highly original form of transport, which gives new meaning to the expression “hang out somewhere in the city,” is called Kolelinio. The project assumes that a dense network of cable cars will be placed throughout the city, to which you can “cling” anywhere – and go where you need to.

Moving around the city on the
Moving around the city on the “flying chair” Kolelinio

The Kolelinio chair is a device that you can carry behind your back, like a backpack. It consists of an electric motor, batteries and a seat. Having reached the nearest “station” Kolelinio, it is proposed to hook this unit onto one of the cables – and move towards the target at a speed of up to 25 km / h. Like a skier on a funicular. Well, or like a carcass on the conveyor belt of a meat-packing plant. But no traffic jams.

The height of the ropes along the travel paths is not the same. It should change in accordance with the characteristics of the urban landscape and local infrastructure.

Kolelinio fits easily into a dedicated backpack bag
Kolelinio fits easily into a dedicated backpack bag

The architect assumes that the city authorities should be engaged in the installation of the lines, and each passenger will have their own device, convenient for him modification. For children, for example, instead of a seat, you can make comfortable and safe pants.

The project involves the formation of a new overground transport “layer”. Movement at a height, according to Martin Angelov, has undoubted advantages – he is not afraid of any ground obstacles that can be simply bypassed along the top.

Kolelinio is a step towards organizing the city of the future, in which a clean environment is as important as the dynamics of life. According to the author, his project must be implemented now, without waiting for the depletion of the planet’s fuel resources.

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